It was a shearling ram belonging to the Burnview flock of Stephanie and William Tait that clinched top honours at the recent Northern Ireland Suffolk Championships held at Armagh Show.
This shearling ram which was purchased as a ram lamb at the 2015 Stirling sale from Denis Taylor of the Ballynacannon flock for £18,000 has already turned a few heads by claiming first in its class at Balmoral and reserve champion at Ballymena Show.
William and Stephanie Tait had a memorable day in not only did their shearling ram top the class, they also took the first place rosettes in both the aged ram class, edging out Mark Herron and in the ram lamb class followed closely behind by Denis Taylor and a second ram lamb belonging to the Burnview flock.
However, the Tait’s certainly didn’t get it all their own way in the Suffolk fold at Armagh and had to fend off stiff competition on a number of fronts, in particular from Donrho flock owner Patrick Donnelly who claimed the reserve champion prize with his eye catching aged ewe.
Gary Beacom and Jason Watson followed closely behind the reserve champion in the aged ewe class.
Onlookers caught their first glimpse of the shearling ram of S andW Tait as the Burnview flock got the nod ahead of Patrick Donnelly and Jason Watson.
Competition in the Northern Ireland Championships was as intense as ever with judge James young handing the first place rosette to Stephen Sufferin in the shearling ewe class ahead of Denis Taylor and Stephanie and William Tait.
Calum Patterson of the Kinbally flock, a young and upcoming new breeder, took the first place rosette in the ewe lamb class ahead of runners up Stephen Sufferin and Patrick Donnelly.
Jason and Campbell Watson clinched the pair of lambs award with Stephanie and William Tait second and Patrick Donnelly third.
Stephanie and William Tait also took the group awards edging out Patrick Donnelly and Jason Watson.
But in the final deliberations Patrick Donnelly had to on this occasion settle for second best as the Co Tyrone breeders Stephanie and William Tait scooped the top prize on offer.
Meanwhile in the stock judging competition which followed it was William Montgomery and Frank McConville who won the over 26 section with Eoin Butler winning the under 26 section, while brother and sister Eoin and Eimear Butler claimed the young handler classes.
Northern Ireland Branch Championships 11th June – Gosford Park, Armagh
Ewe any age: 1st P Donnelly, 2nd G C Beacom, 3rd RC and JC Watson
Ram any age: 1st S and W Tait, 2nd M Herron
Shearling ewe: 1st S Sufferin, 2nd D Taylor, 3rd S and W Tait
Shearling ram: 1st S and W Tait, 2nd P Donnelly, 3rd RC and JC Watson
Ewe lamb: 1st C Patterson, 2nd S Sufferin, 3rd P Donnelly
Ram lamb: 1st S and W Tait, 2nd D Taylor, 3rd S and W Tait
Group of three: 1st S and W Tait, 2nd P Donnelly, 3rd RC and JC Watson
Pairs: 1st RC and JC Watson, 2nd S and W Tait, 3rd P Donnelly
Male champion: William Tait
Reserve male champion: William Tait
Female champion: Patrick Donnelly
Reserve female: Stephen Sufferin
Supreme champion: William Tait
Reserve: Patrick Donnelly
Championships stock judging
26 and under: 1st Eoin Butler, 2nd Ben Robinson, 3rd Rachel Armour
26 and over: 1st William Montgomery and Frank McConville, 2nd Patrick McVerry, Jason Watson, Patrick Donnelly and Bernie McConville
9 years and under: 1st Eimear Butler, 2nd Ben Robinson, 3rd Ryan Grant
Special awards: James McMahon and Jack Moses
10 to 14: 1st Eoin Butler, 2nd Alex Armour